TAKOMA PARK, Md. - The “sanctuary city” movement may now have new life in Maryland after a federal court blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to stop it. U.S. District Judge William Orrick used President Donald Trump’s own words in his decision to block the executive order to withhold funding from "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.
This comes as the Department of Homeland Security announced a new effort to help victims of crime committed by illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced the creation of new office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE). It is designed to reach out to victims of criminals that should not have been allowed to enter the United States.
"We are giving people who are victimized by illegal aliens for the first time a voice of their own,” said Kelly. “All crime is terrible, but these victims as represented here are unique and they are all too often ignored. They are casualties of crimes that should not have never have taken place because the people who victimized them should never have been here in our country.”
But could the federal judge's recent ruling unleash a new wave of "sanctuary cites" that ignore the enforcement of existing federal immigration law?
In Maryland, the town of Hyattsville passed a sanctuary city law this month. The city of Rockville is also considering one. In Takoma Park, it has been a sanctuary city since the 1980s.
Gustavo Torres, the executive director of pro-immigration group CASA, said he expect more cites will feel empowered by the injunction and declare themselves sanctuaries.
“We are encouraging and providing information to different local jurisdictions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Ludlow, the city manager for Takoma Park, said they have been making budget preparations for the possibility that the city could still have its federal funding cut off.
"I make sure we have enough money so that we can function,” Ludlow said. “I am not going to think that it’s over. At this point, we keep our reserves a little bit bigger in case we lose some federal funds.”
A spokesperson for the city of Rockville said a hearing has been scheduled for June 19 on a sanctuary city bill that has been in limbo for several weeks.
President Trump weighed in on the federal judge’s decision on Twitter calling the court decision "ridiculous" and also tweeting, "See you in the Supreme Court!”
First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017
Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the "ban" case and now the "sanctuary" case is brought in ...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017
...the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this "judge shopping!" Messy system.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017